Assisted Reproductive Technology in Europe: Usage and Regulation in the Context of Cross-Border Reproductive Care
Praeg P., Mills MC.
This chapter reviews assisted reproductive technologies (ART) usage and policies across European countries, and scrutinizes emerging issues related to cross-border reproductive care (or “reproductive tourism”). Although Europe is currently the largest market for ART, the extent of usage varies widely across countries, largely because of differences in the laws, the affordability, the types of reimbursement, and the norms surrounding childbearing and conception. Since 2009, the regulation of ART has been expanding in Europe, and all countries now have some form of ART legislation. Countries where the treatments are completely covered by national health plans have the highest level of ART utilization. Being in a legal marriage or a stable union is often a prerequisite for access to ART. Currently, only half of European countries allow single women to use ART, and even fewer grant access to lesbian women. Surrogate motherhood is strictly prohibited in many countries in Europe, and where it is allowed, strong restrictions against commercial surrogacy are in place. While restrictive national legislation can be easily circumvented by crossing national boundaries for ART treatments, questions of equity of access have been raised, as not all prospective parents can afford to travel for treatment.